When working to uphold justice, nothing is more important than maintaining the integrity of evidence. This is why the labeling of evidence bags is so strongly valued. Without proper labeling, evidence can be compromised, completely altering the course of a criminal investigation. More than just a protocol, this practice is essential to effective law enforcement.
Here, we discuss exactly why labeling matters and what law enforcement professionals can do to better preserve evidence as it moves throughout their agency and the criminal justice system.
The primary purpose of labeling evidence in law enforcement is to make it easy for investigators and technicians to identify it. All evidence collected at a crime scene must be properly tagged with information like the description of the item, the case number, date and location of collection, the name and identifier of the collector, and any applicable make, model, or serial number information. Chain of custody information, such as who has had contact with the evidence, when and why it was handled, as well as any changes that were made to the evidence, should also be included.
With every detail clearly listed on the evidence bag, each person who handles it will always know exactly where it belongs and where it has been, significantly mitigating the chances of mixing up or losing evidence when handling or transferring it.
Easily identifiable evidence also helps reduce the risk of evidence tampering, which, in turn, reduces the likelihood of a mistrial. Often, a single piece of evidence gathered at a crime scene is key to proving or dismissing a case, and a mistrial can occur when this key evidence is damaged or tampered in any way. Without key evidence being rendered valid in an investigation, the justice system becomes anything but just, opening doors for criminals to be released back onto the streets or innocent people being convicted for crimes they didn’t commit.
By providing detailed chain of custody information and a clear description of the evidence, each person who handles the evidence will be equipped with the knowledge needed to handle the item properly and ensure that it matches its description as it moves through the criminal justice system. Additionally, detailed chain of command information promotes accountability within an agency, thus limiting opportunities for tampering.
Law enforcement agencies have a tremendous responsibility to preserve and protect evidence collected in a criminal investigation. Adhering to standards of proper handling, packaging, and labeling of property not only reduces the exorbitant cost of correcting errors, but it can also mitigate any possible liability to the agency.
In normal circumstances, this promotes trust and credibility within an agency and to the public. In the case of evidence tampering that leads to a mistrial, detailed labeling of the evidence can help prove that a law enforcement officer or agency is not at fault.
It’s clear that labeling matters, but the bag used for labeling is just as important. As the evidence bag of choice for law enforcement professionals, Superior Bag offers the most detailed and dynamic labeling options on the market. Our customers appreciate our custom labels, superior quality, and attention to detail.
At Superior Bag, we believe that information is power. Don’t let an investigation crumble due to poor labeling practices. Let our products help your agency promote accountability, reduce liability, and preserve justice.